The Truth About Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Auto insurance policies have an add-on provision called uninsured motorist coverage. This is designed to protect you in a car accident from other people who might be driving without car insurance.  An uninsured motorist coverage is not a requirement for car owners under Michigan state laws. However, given that Michigan is one of the top five states with the most number of uninsured drivers, based on a report from the Insurance Research Council (IRC), then it might be practical to get this additional coverage for your own protection in case of an accident.

A Typical Uninsured Motorist Coverage

An uninsured motorist overage from a reputable insurance company may set you back about $30 to $50 a year. It’s an affordable additional benefit with a substantial payoff because from this coverage, you may:

  • get compensated for property damage or car repairs (uninsured motorist property damage or UMPD)
  • receive financial support for your medical bills, therapies and potential income loss if you still can’t regain full use of your limbs and other bodily functions following the accident.

Scenarios Where Uninsured Motorist Coverage Applies

If you’ve been involved in a car accident and you were not at fault, then you may receive no-fault benefits from your insurer. You may also file claims or seek compensation against the driver who caused the accident and his insurance company.  But the problem may become complicated if:

  • You found out that the at-fault driver doesn’t have any car insurance at all.
  • The at-fault driver is nowhere to be found, as in the case of a hit and run.

You may have a harder time asking the negligent driver in these three scenarios to pay for the damage to your car. If he has zero car insurance, it might not be easy for him to provide the financial assistance you deserve. If you were a victim of a hit and run, who will you go after to help shoulder the cost of your car repairs or medical bills?

Uninsured Motorist Coverage versus Underinsured Motorist Coverage

In some cases, however, the at-fault driver may have auto insurance but with poor terms. Even if you collect for compensation, his insurer might refuse to pay your medical bills and other expenses since his coverage is under the minimum liability.  Inferior car insurance coverages in Michigan are also quite common. Since the state’s requirements for a minimum car insurance policy is at $20,000, most companies may only be willing to shoulder up to $40,000 payout in case of an accident.  To get better protection for yourself, then you might also need an underinsured motorist coverage.

Filing for an Uninsured Motorist Claim

As soon as you’ve experienced any of these scenarios above, your uninsured motorist coverage will take effect. However, you have to inform your insurance company by filing a claim formally.  Before you do this, however, you have to prepare vital documents, such as the police report of the accident or a statement from the at-fault driver, to avoid further complications to your situation. If you were a hit and run victim, any additional proof like videos or witness statements might help.  Lastly, verify if the at-fault driver is also the car owner. It’s possible that these are two different people and the car owner may actually have good insurance to cover your claims.

Scenarios Where Uninsured Motorist Claims May Be Denied

Uninsured motorist claims are pretty standard for most insurers but there are also limitations to the coverage. For instance, if you use the vehicle that the at-fault driver hit for business purposes, as in the case of a delivery van or a ride-sharing service, you may not benefit from an uninsured motorist claim. If you were driving a car you do not own during the accident, such as a company car, you may also not be liable to seek uninsured motorist benefits for your accident injuries.

Insurance contracts always have a fine print with special conditions and pre-requisites that may need to be fully satisfied before your claim can be released. Thus, it pays to read the contract thoroughly before you sign on the dotted line so that you will not miss out on what should be due you.

Get Help from the Auto Insurance and Accident Experts!

Are you unsure about the process for filing an uninsured motorist claim? Do you need more clarity about this type of coverage, in general? It would be best to discuss your options with a qualified lawyer from The Clark Law Office. Don’t hesitate to contact us for inquiries at (517) 347-6900.  We offer free initial consultations and charge no fees unless you win your car accident case!